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Old October 12th, 2017, 06:04 AM   #1

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Advantages of Crossbows vs English Longbows


What are the advantages of the crossbow vs English Longbow during the Hundred Years War? Obviously the longbow could fire faster and was capable of indirect fire, while the crossbow was better a direct fire.
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Old October 12th, 2017, 06:11 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Visigoth Panzer View Post
What are the advantages of the crossbow vs English Longbow during the Hundred Years War? Obviously the longbow could fire faster and was capable of indirect fire, while the crossbow was better a direct fire.
I have a few texts on this at home. At the end of the day (I'm working) I'll get you the references. The biggest advantage as I recall was distance. The long bow was used like artillery whereas the crossbow didn't have the effective range. God knows I could have that wrong since it's been quite some time. I'll get back to you this evening.

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Old October 12th, 2017, 06:18 AM   #3

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Crossbows were far easier to learn.
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Old October 12th, 2017, 06:23 AM   #4
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Crossbows were far easier to learn.
Lowbowmen had to practice and develop upper body muscles.

A crossbow bolt was more effective at relatively close range and penetrated armor better.
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Old October 12th, 2017, 10:01 AM   #5

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To many medieval kings and barons the idea of peasents with long range weapons was worrying. Knights and foot soldiers fought hand to hand and the thought of surly peasents armed with bows of any description taking pot shots at them did not sit well.
The longbow was a weapon of status, used by skilled archers. The crossbow on the other hand was simple to operate. The crossbow was considered by many to be a weapon of mass destruction. Not only was it was remarkably accurate at long range, but more importantly, the bolts it fired could penetrate a knight’s armour. Crossbows meant that no breast plated nobleman, prince or king was safe on the battlefield. Any low born peasant with just a bit of training could kill a lord or sovereign with simple squeeze of a trigger. Under pressure the Roman Catholic Church called for an outright ban on the weapon. Pope Urban II banned the use of crossbows in 1096; a prohibition that was upheld by Pope Innocent II in 1139.
Although slower to reload than a typical longbow an army of ordinary infantrymen could be made proficient with crossbow in weeks, or even days. Conversely, the strength and skill required to effectively operate a bow could take a lifetime to develop. More significantly, bolts could penetrate chain and plate armour at distances of up to 300 yards; longbows were far less powerful.

Last edited by funakison; October 12th, 2017 at 10:27 AM.
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Old October 12th, 2017, 10:19 AM   #6
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I own a 150lber , and loading it by hand requires immense forearm strength... so the crossbow couldn't be easily used by any old sissy boy.

In fact having used a longbow too , I would actually say a Longbow is less strenuous on the body.

Back to the original question, it depends who is the man behind the weapon. As an untrained practitioner who has used both I can say the Xbow is far more accurate and powerful... while the Longbow is easier to fire and has a higher rate of fire. Personally I would use a crossbow if my life depended on it.

I feel like that the more experience each practitioner getsthe more the Longbow begins to catch up and build up an advantage over the crossbow.
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Old October 12th, 2017, 11:28 AM   #7
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I own a 150lber , and loading it by hand requires immense forearm strength... so the crossbow couldn't be easily used by any old sissy boy.

In fact having used a longbow too , I would actually say a Longbow is less strenuous on the body.
What weight longbow?
Of course as crossbows got heavier (especially with steel bows) they acquired mechanical spanning, sparing the forearms but making them slower still.

Quote:
Back to the original question, it depends who is the man behind the weapon. As an untrained practitioner who has used both I can say the Xbow is far more accurate and powerful... while the Longbow is easier to fire and has a higher rate of fire. Personally I would use a crossbow if my life depended on it.

I feel like that the more experience each practitioner gets the more the Longbow begins to catch up and build up an advantage over the crossbow.
Agreed. (As someone with much more experience with a longbow than a crossbow)
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Old October 12th, 2017, 11:54 AM   #8
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What weight longbow?
I think it was a 60 lber

Just to clarify when I said "easier to fire" I meant easier to reload, as it was quite the challenge to even hit the target at 20 meters. The instructor said I had the worst technique he'd seen that year. I told him "the year was still young as it was only September"
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Old October 12th, 2017, 12:34 PM   #9

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At the High School I practiced archery and I developed a certain passion. Using an Olympic bow I realized that it's a tremendous weapon, but the accuracy and the effect of the launched arrow depends on the bowman, in great part on the bowman [the rest comes from the quality of the bow].

The crossbow does a large part of the work. The bow requires you manage it totally until you shoot.

With a crossbow, once you have blocked the mechanism, you can focus your attention on something else, you can move quickly, you can aim with calm, you can do all you want without having to keep the rope in tension.

This means, for example, that you can use a crossbow laying down [try and use a bow lying down ... it's possible, I did it, but it's not the most easy thing to do ...].
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Old October 12th, 2017, 02:23 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by funakison View Post
To many medieval kings and barons the idea of peasents with long range weapons was worrying. Knights and foot soldiers fought hand to hand and the thought of surly peasents armed with bows of any description taking pot shots at them did not sit well.
The longbow was a weapon of status, used by skilled archers. The crossbow on the other hand was simple to operate. The crossbow was considered by many to be a weapon of mass destruction. Not only was it was remarkably accurate at long range, but more importantly, the bolts it fired could penetrate a knight’s armour. Crossbows meant that no breast plated nobleman, prince or king was safe on the battlefield. Any low born peasant with just a bit of training could kill a lord or sovereign with simple squeeze of a trigger. Under pressure the Roman Catholic Church called for an outright ban on the weapon. Pope Urban II banned the use of crossbows in 1096; a prohibition that was upheld by Pope Innocent II in 1139.
Although slower to reload than a typical longbow an army of ordinary infantrymen could be made proficient with crossbow in weeks, or even days. Conversely, the strength and skill required to effectively operate a bow could take a lifetime to develop. More significantly, bolts could penetrate chain and plate armour at distances of up to 300 yards; longbows were far less powerful.

If what you say is true, then it sounds like the crossbow would have the ggreatest effective range, so I wonder why people say the longbow had greater range?

Could it be that the crossbow was harder to raise to a 45 degree to fire? Crossbows looked like they wanted the butt to be braced on the shoulder, and firing at 45 degree or whatever the optimal angle for range was, would be harder to do with a crossbow. Also, aiming would be harder, and with the higher rate of fire, being as accurate would not be as big an issue for regular bows. But for crossbows, with a lower rate of fire, you would want every bolt to count.
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